At the beginning of a New Year, many people commit to New Year’s resolutions. Some deal with changing careers or improving/removing relationships, but I would hazard to guess that most deal with getting in better shape. It is a normal extrapolation to make given that 60% of Americans are overweight and 30% are obese (20% higher than their BMI). It is a laudable resolution to make. So why does it rarely work? Let’s discuss common New Year’s Resolution Weight Loss Pitfalls.
New Year’s Resolution Weight Loss Pitfalls.
In the event you are new to Naturopathic Earth, I was a former morbidly obese child and adolescent. I lost over 100 pounds and have successfully kept it off for over 25 years. (To learn more about this accomplishment check out my Confessions of an Obese Child podcast or e-book on Amazon Kindle or B&N Nook and/or read my blog series “How I Lost Over 100 pounds and Kept It Off For Over 25 Years.”)
Losing weight is exceptionally difficult. Maintaining weight loss is exceedingly more difficult. As I have mentioned before in the How I Lost Part 1, in order to keep the weight off for an extended amount of time you have to completely change your paradigm. Your whole world and how you perceive food, exercise, and yourself needs to radically change.
The same may be said for resolutions. So let’s focus on some New Year’s Resolution Weight Loss Pitfalls.
Having Unrealistic Expectations
Many people in the need to lose weight simply have unrealistic expectations vis-à-vis weight loss. “I’m going to lose 50 pounds by the summer.” Is it possible to lose that amount of weight in 5 months? Perhaps if you do a crash diet but the problem with crash diets is you will likely regain the weight once you get off of it because you have not installed lifelong changes in your dietary and lifestyle habits.
A much better expectation is to say “I’m going to try to lose weight this January. Maybe 5 pounds this month.” If you set realistic expectations you are more likely to stick with the program. If you set about trying to lose 15 pounds in a month and you don’t do it, you will lose your motivation, become disheartened and go back to your old habits. If you set realistic ones and you meet them, it will bolster you to reach the next realistic goal. So start small and work your way up.
Change Your Eating…Slowly
Another one of the New Year’s Resolution Weight Loss Pitfalls is not changing your dietary habits. This is an obvious one but one that needs to be succinctly addressed. If you eat loads of junk food and tons of beer and you expect to lose weight by not FUNDAMENTALLY changing your eating habits, you will fail. If you truly want to lose a lot of weight, you will need to change a lot of things.
So start small. If you drink 14 beers a week, make a commitment to only drink one night a week. If you love bread, pasta, and other carbs, make a decision to only eat them a few nights a week. Make it a gradual change of weening of the toxic foods to more #eatclean ones. As I mention in How I Lost Part 1, you don’t need to hire a dietician to tell what to eat to get healthy. We all already know what it is. It is a question of doing it.
Crash Diets….Not So Much
One of the biggest of the New Year’s Resolution Weight Loss Pitfalls is using a crash diet to lose the weight. We have 30 Day, Atkins, Cookie Diet, or even the more respected ketogenic or Paleo diets. The issue with crash diets is this: they might be effective in getting you to lose the weight, but they rarely are effective in your keeping it off for an extended amount of time.
Regimented, crash diets are great for some people because it tells you exactly what to eat, when to eat it, and what to buy. But as I mention in the Holistic Health News podcast episode entitled “How Weight Watchers Wants You To Fail” these crash diet systems admit in their “white papers” that they are designed for you to fail.
They want you to fail and not sustain long-term weight loss because they know you WILL COME BACK TO THEM. You give them the credit for losing the weight, but you blame yourself for lacking the self-discipline to keep it off. YOU NEVER BLAME THEM. And they know that, so you are a repeated customer…over and over.
Sure you could go all out Paleo or Keto on Day One, but you are primed to fail. It is exceedingly difficult to give up bread, cookies, crackers, pasta, and most grains in general all at once. So even though switching to a Keto-based Paleo diet will likely set you up for weight loss and long-term weight maintenance, if you go “cold Turkey” from Day 1, it is simply too hard.
What is the alternative? “Slow and steady wins the race.” Slowly wean off the fried food, sodas, and foods that have high amounts of refined sugar first but don’t feel the pressure to get off of them immediately. Again, it’s the excessive expectations that is the biggest of the New Year’s Resolution Weight Loss Pitfalls.
The other consideration is switching immediately to a pure Keto diet or switching to a 24 hour fast Day 1 will lead to full-out body response of it telling you “What the F are you doing!” You will have “Keto flu” or “fasting illness.”
Be gradual…first switch to a low carb (under 150 grams of carb/day) for a few weeks before trying pure ketogenic (under 50 grams). Try a 14 hour fast before doing a 24 hour. It’s akin to lifting weights. You must build up tolerance.
Another of the New Year’s Resolution Weight Loss Pitfalls is avoid fasting. Yes, you can lose weight by NOT fasting, but why do that if fasting WILL set you up to lose and keep the weight off. Fasting is simply the EASIEST biohack to lose and keep weight off.
This goes back to a paradigm shift. Many have been inculcated for year to think that they must eat 6 meals a day with constant snacking to “keep their metabolism going.” This is simply not true. (I’m not going to spend too much time here on the benefits of fasting since we have articles and HHN podcast episodes on it.)
What I will say is that fasting works on 90% of people who do it. The easiest schedule is to skip breakfast (while still hydrating with water, unsweetened tea/coffee). At the beginning start with not eating breakfast until 10:00am. Then after several days push it to 11:00am and so on. After about a month you will literally be able to reach late afternoon with hunger pangs and loss of energy and mental cognition. Just do it!
Exercise…But Get Into It!
I have been hitting the gym 4-5 days a week for over 28 years. Every year in January the “regulars” see the newbies come into the gym. We, regulars, get a little grumpy at the New Year’s resolution people because they might be taking up our gym equipment. But sadly within a few weeks they disappear. Why is that?
Again, it deals with expectations. This might be the biggest of the New Year’s Resolution Weight Loss Pitfalls. People with the best intentions think they will go into the gym Jan 2nd and rapidly begin losing weight. When they don’t they get discouraged. Or they are unaccustomed or intimidated by gym equipment and/or muscle-bound people.
Either way, it is imperative that you hit the gym. And not just getting on the elliptical on 2 resistance while watching TV. Again it’s the paradigm shift. You need to commit fully to the workout. High resistance, sweating profusely, no TV, crank up the music and go. Same for weight lifting. Start small and work your way up, but you must work. And don’t give up.
Not changing your paradigm
Okay, this was a bit too easy. Many people who are overweight and want to lose the weight don’t change their paradigm. As with everything else mentioned, the absolute most salient point of the New Year’s Resolution Weight Loss Pitfalls is you must change your paradigm.
You must re-arrange your life to optimize the chances of you losing and keeping your weight off. So get enough sleep (which helps lose weight), fundamentally but slowly alter your diet to limit and/or purge the foods that keep you overweight, employ intermittent fasting, and hit the gym.
You must make a commitment to exercise. 3-4 times a week and don’t give up. If your eating isn’t perfect doing exercise consistently will offset it. (Check out the article or HNN episode on Non-Exercise Ways To Biohack Your Metabolism.)
These are just of the few of the New Year’s Resolution Weight Loss Pitfalls. Implement the aforementioned and at the least it will give you a head start in NOT failing your resolutions. Who knows…maybe it will help reach your goals.